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Posted 05/16/2023 in Christian Mental Health Tips

How to Overcome Being a People-Pleaser | Tips and Strategies

How to Overcome Being a People-Pleaser | Tips and Strategies

Do you struggle with people pleasing behaviors, always trying to keep everyone happy even at the expense of your own needs and values? Do you find it difficult to say no or be assertive because you fear being seen as selfish or unchristian? Are you constantly feeling guilty when others aren't satisfied with your decisions or opinions?

Answering yes to any of the above are signs you're a people pleaser or have people pleasing tendencies which means you've developed a habit of prioritizing the approval of others over your own needs. While it'sLike and share this content on FB admirable to want others to be happy, this habit can create an idol of other people's opinions in your mind, which can lead you to make decisions without seeking God's approval.

This can cause feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, trigger low-self esteem and ultimately prevent you from experiencing the rest and abundance that God has planned for you. To break free from this cycle, it's crucial to recognize the sinfulness of people-pleasing and prioritize seeking God's will above all else. In this article, we will explore what the Bible says about people-pleasing and how you can learn to break free from the harmful habit of people pleasing and live a more fulfilling life.

What Is a People-Pleaser?

A people-pleaser is someone who goes out of their way to keep others happy and avoid conflict, often at the expense of their own well being and desires. People-pleasers may have a strong desire to be liked and accepted by others, which can lead them to constantly seek approval and validation from others. They may say "yes" to things they don't want to do, avoid saying "no" to avoid disappointing others, and have difficulty expressing their own opinions and preferences.

While being considerate and kind to others is a positive trait, when taken to an extreme, people-pleasing can be detrimental to one's mental and emotional well-being. It can cause anxiety, stress, and feelings of resentment towards others which his why it is important for people-pleasers to learn to set boundaries, prioritize their own needs and desires, and learn to say "no" when necessary, while still being kind and considerate to others.

What Does the Bible Say About People Pleasing?

In Galatians 1:10, Paul says that if he was still trying to please people he would not be a servant of Christ. This is because Paul knew that not everyone wants what God will's. But more than that Paul was following the example of his master.

As Christians, we're supposed to live by the example Jesus had set. We're supposed to be less like us and more like Him, so what was He like on Earth?

Well, Jesus loved people. He cared for them. He healed them. He even raised some from the dead. But what He never tried to do was try to please them. Everything He ever did was to please God because He knew God’s heart, and God’s heart is always for the good of His people.

Yes, Jesus was good to people and we’re supposed to be too. But He did not try to please everyone, He chose only to do the will of the one who sent Him (John 8:29).

If He tried to please everyone, He would have had to often disobey God because not everyone wants what God wants for them. Still, God’s will is good and it should take precedence over everything, including the needs and wants of people.

God wants us to serve people, not please them. Paul understood this well, and it's something we all should understand as well.

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How Do I Stop Being A People Pleaser?

The below three steps will help you overcome any people pleasing tendencies you may have.

1. Acknowledge that it's a sin

It may be shocking to hear that always being the nicest person you could possibly be to people is a sin, but it is. It's a sin because people-pleasing allows the opinions of others to lead us more than the Holy Spirit and that is idolatry.

If you've been people-pleasing because you think it makes you a better Christian, this will help you stop.

2. Identify the motive

You don't stop being a people pleaser by starting to say no to everything and being bad to people. You do it by identifying your motives. Literally, "Ask yourself why you feel the need to please others."

Are you doing it out of a genuine desire to help or make others happy? Or are you seeking validation and approval from others to boost your own self-esteem? If your motive is fear, rejection, or being liked for who you're pretending to be, change your decision. The motive in every move you ever make should be to glorify God (1 Cor 10:31). Ensuring that your motive in everything is to glorify God, will help you stop people-pleasing.

3. Understand your value

One reason many people become people pleasers is that they derive their value from the opinions of others. They feel valuable only when others like them. This can only happen if you don't know how valuable you really are. You are a child of God, you're created and loved by Him, and He has made you valuable. Nobody can change who you are in Him, no matter what. So if you find yourself deriving value from the opinions of others, pray, read your Bible, and remind yourself of who you truly are.

4. Learn to say no

Saying no can be difficult, especially if you're used to saying yes all the time. However, it's important to recognize that saying no doesn't make you a bad person. In fact, saying no can help you establish healthy boundaries and prioritize your own well being. Practice saying no in a polite but firm manner, and remember that you don't owe anyone an explanation

5. Focus on your Own Needs

People-pleasers often put the well being of others above their own, which can lead to neglecting their own needs and desires. To break free from people-pleasing, it's important to prioritize your own needs. Take time to identify what you want and need in life, and work towards fulfilling those needs. This can help you feel more confident in yourself and your decisions.

6. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Surrounding yourself with people who support you can help you break free from the cycle of people-pleasing. Find people who accept you for who you are and encourage you to be yourself. These people can help you build self-confidence and provide a safe space to express yourself without fear of judgment.

Bible Verse to Help You Please God Not Man

Below are 5 scriptures to remind you that you are not called to be a people pleaser, but rather, you are called to be pleasing to the Lord.

Proverbs 29:25

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.

Proverbs 29:25 warns us of the trap of people-pleasing, we should never conform to the opinions of others but rather trust in the approval of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.

Thessalonians 2:4 reminds us again to examine our motives because that's what God does. Our motive should always be to please God.

Psalm 118:8

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

People pleasers tend to put their trust in people, believing that their actions will ensure everyone's happiness. However, Psalm 118:8 reminds us that humans are fallible and will inevitably disappoint us, regardless of our efforts to please them. That's why it's crucial to turn to the Lord for refuge, as He is the only one who will never fail us. By placing our trust in God and seeking His approval above all else, we can break free from the cycle of people-pleasing and find true peace and security.

Acts 5:29

Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than human beings!"

In Acts 5:29 Peter and the apostles were being taken to jail for preaching the gospel and performing miracles. People didn't like what they were doing, many didn't approve, but God did, and that was all that mattered.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Just like every apostle or messenger in the Bible, we have a responsibility towards the kingdom of God. We need to handle the Word of truth wisely even if it sometimes goes against what people want to hear.

Final Thoughts on People Pleasers

So as you begin your journey to recover from being a people pleaser, remember this. Disappointing or angering people is inevitable. Not everyone will be happy with everything you do. Jesus was busy doing good deeds when religious people asked to crucify Him. He then got on the cross in obedience to God and love for us, but there He saw His grieving family and friends. No matter what He did, some people were unhappy and that should teach us something.

If the Son of God did not try to ensure everyone was happy with everything He did, why should we?

Today, choose to follow God's lead. Obey His voice even at the cost of being rejected or disliked, and watch how everything falls into place. You'll soon find that His approval was really all you ever needed.

If need additional help or support overcoming people pleasing behavior, you can contact a Christian therapy or life coach near you by search our directory of providers here:

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About the Author: 

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams.  In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here: https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

Help us increase mental health awareness in the Christian community by donating through our paypal link here: www.paypal.com/therapyforchristians, joining our mailing list by clicking below, or join our provider list here: Provider listing

Disclaimer: the information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are looking for a Christian counselor near you, please check out our directory located here:  Christians Therapist Near Me

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